Lawton_Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas is on its way. This time of year, we stop and think about friends and family. But the Hospice of Southwest Oklahoma does it all year long and are asking the community to care a little more this season.
It's time for the third annual tree lighting campaign - "Light Up a Life" and the tree of remembrance is being placed on top of BancFirst at Cache Road Square. They're trying to earn money that continues medical care for patients not expected to live for more than 6 months. Fifteen hundred bulbs on the tree represent $15,000 and all of them are lit to show what has been contributed and what the tree could look like if there were even more donations.
Edith Hill has two family members which use the Hospice of Southwest Oklahoma. They're both terminally ill and need help in their final days. One of them is her 35 year old cousin. "She's just, where she can't really do for herself and so just to step in and be a part of that as a family and as a part of hospice has been wonderful," she says.
Hill works for Hospice and they are all there to keep the ill as comfortable as possible in their final days - including spending time at home instead of a cold hospital room. The Hospice provides all the physical, medical and mental aid to victims of terminal diseases - including family members.
"It makes a big difference with the family to have someone step in and help you to ease those concerns that you have and to help take some of the burden off of taking care of someone else," says Hill. Hospice is a non-profit organization which means all patients - insured and uninsured - are treated equally. No one is turned away.
"That also takes off such a heavy burden. Because if the patient's been sick for a long time, there's lots of medical bills and expenses that are built up and our service doesn't cost them a thing," Hill says. "We're just stepping in to help you cope with and deal with what's going on in your life, for right now. It's not giving up."
Since the Hospice is not for profit, they run entirely on donations and fundraisers like the "Light Up a Life" campaign. Businesses can also get in the giving spirit and buy a whole string of lights for $250. The organization is also offering keepsake ornaments.